As we sailed south down the Nile a sand storm caused us to stop sailing for the night so we were unable to reach our first stop in Edfu by morning. Once the sun came up we were sailing again. We were supposed to make two stops before heading to the final destination in Aswan and the cruise company did a good job of changing plans to get us to both. First we stopped at Edfu where we were taken by horse drawn carriage to the Edfu Temple of Horus. After spending about 2 hours there we were back on the ship and sailing again. We reached the Temple of Kom Ombo, a double temple dedicated to Horus the falcon headed god and the other to Sobek the crocodile god. It was a fast visit but since we got there after dark it was cool seeing it all lite up. It was a bit rushed but atleast we got to see both. We spent the night on the sun deck talking with new friends and relaxing.
The next morning we had another early start. We left the ship at 4am with a private guide and drove 3 hours south of Aswan to the Sudan border where we saw my favorite temple yet. The temple of Abu Simbel. There is plenty of ancient history here just like all the temples but this one has some modern history that just blows my mind.
The Egyptian government along with the help of Russia decided to build a dam in Aswan in order to divert water to increase crops and also to create electric to supply millions of people. Of course like any dam the effects on nature and the surrounding communities are devastating. Example: there are no more hippos, crocodiles ect north of the dam changing the entire ecosystem. The temple of Abu Simbel wasn’t spared either. When the dam was erected, the water along the river rose, flooding the temple. The temple (actually 2 temples) were built into the side of a mountain. In order to save it from ruin the government reached out to the UNESCO people and with help from around the world they actually deconstructed the entire temple and moved it to a new location along the newly formed lake. Then they built an entire mountain to house the temples just like in its original location. Every detail matched perfectly right down to the opening of the front door. The original location allowed the sun to shine in the front door at certain times illuminating the main tomb. More on this in an upcoming video. An amazing feat for sure.
After spending several hours there we went back to Aswan to see the dam and then to Philae Island temple. Nothing too special here and most of our ship mates agreed the dam isn’t even worth a stop. You can drive across it, no filming and no going in inside like at the Hoover Dam in the US. With time running out we had to skip going to a Nubian village and looking back we wish had gone there instead of the dam.
We spent the last night on our ship at dock just eating and laughing with our new friends. A special thanks to the family from Hong Kong, Teddy, Sylvia and Eva , that we shared our meals with all week and our new Egyptian friend Faheem and Max our Russian connection in Munich. You guys really made the trip fun for us. Having traveled from Alexandria in the north all the way to the southern border its now time to head back to Cairo and start our adventure from west to east as we go from Siwa the great Oasis on the Libyan border between the Qattara Depression and the Great Sand Sea all the way to the resort town of Sharm El Sheik for some relaxation before hitting the backpacker town of Dahab near the Jordan border to climb Mt Sanai.